Published: 11 April 2017
Author(s): Sergio Coccheri
Issue: April 2017
Section: Reflections in Internal Medicine

Error and contradictions are not “per se” detrimental in science and medicine. Going back to the history of philosophy, Sir Francis Bacon stated that “truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion”, and recently Popper introduced the concept of an approximate temporary truth that constitutes the engine of scientific progress. In biomedical research and in clinical practice we assisted during the last decades to many overturnings or reversals of concepts and practices. This phenomenon may discourage patients from accepting ordinary medical care and may favour the choice of alternative medicine.